A convenient table

coin Rasulid 2 fish for Yemen and Hadramaut smlWhile I have distinct reservations about the  habit of supposing  that whatever is not Latin in the Voynich manuscript can be only ‘Byzantine’ or ‘Arab’, I have had reason to refer before to the ancient and medieval Yemen, and to posit a period critical for the imagery’s evolution that  coincides with the transfer of power in the Yemen and Hadramaut from Ayyubid hands to the Rasulid (1229 to 1454).

I am very far from believing that the month-roundels will refer to planetary astrology, or that they must refer to the manazil (‘lunar stations’). And I am  strongly of the opinion that what is represented on folio 77r is not the ‘four elements’ system of the latin world, or of the official Islamic corpus, but an eastern system found in non-Latin and non-Muslim sources.

fol 77r upper 5 elements blog

Those caveats given, it remains possible that the table reproduced (below) may still be relevant to investigating possible connections between the Vms and the ‘de Gradibus’ medical works.  The table below was published in an article by Varisco in 1995. As always, I’m grateful to readers for understanding why I can only reproduce such information within a private blog whose readers understand the constraints on fair dealing.

  • Varisco, Daniel Martin, ‘The magical significance of the lunar stations in the 13thC Yemeni “KITĀB AL-TABṢIRA FĪ ‘ILM AL-NUJŪM” of Al-Malik al-Ashraf’, Quaderni di Studi Arabi , Vol. 13, Divination magie pouvoirs au Yémen (1995), pp. 19-40.

NB – Note that the term  al-Ashrat uses for ‘incense’ is bukhūrāt

Varisco mansions healthHeader picture shows the ‘two fish’ motif, earlier seen on coins of Byzantium, and adopted by the Rasulids as symbolic of their control over Yemen and Hadramawt.


Feb 18th., 2015  reinserted header picture.


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